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jumping

Talk of Tokyo part 3: All you need to know about Team GB’s Jumping squad.

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In the final part of this series, we look at team GB’s Jumping squad, to see if they have what it takes to win the gold at the Tokyo Olympics.


The Jumping Squad

Scott Brash (34) based in Horsham, West Sussex (from Peebles, Peeblesshire) with Lady Pauline Harris and Lady Pauline Kirkham’s Hello Jefferson (bay, gelding, 16.1hh, 12yrs, Cooper van de Heffink x Irco Mena.)

Breeder: Bernard Mols BEL, Groom: David Honnet.

Ben Maher (38) based in Bishop Stortford, Hertfordshire, with Charlotte Rossetter, Pamela Wright and his own Explosion W (chestnut, gelding, 16.1hh, 12yrs, Chacco-Blue x Baloubet
de Rouet.)

Breeder: W Wijnen NED, Groom: Cormac Kenny.

Holly Smith (30) based in Loughborough, Leicestershire, with Ian Dowie’s Denver (bay, gelding, 17.1hh, 13yrs, Albfueheren’s Memphis x Chico’s Boy.)

Breeder: MG and AA Woertman NED, Groom: Kate Dodd.

Travelling reserve

Harry Charles (21) based in Alton, Hampshire, with Ann Thompson and his own Romeo 88 (bay, gelding, 17hh, 12yrs, Contact van de Heffinck x Orlando.)

Breeder: Picobello Horses BEL, Groom: Georgia Ellwood.


Team GB Chef de Mission for the Tokyo Olympic Games, Mark England, said: “We are delighted to welcome returning Olympic gold medallists Scott and Ben to Team GB for the Tokyo Olympic Games who add an incredible amount of experience to this exciting side. I’d also like to congratulate Holly on her selection; a pivotal moment as she becomes the first female named on the Team GB jumping team in 45 years and we have no doubt that this
debut Games will be a very special experience for both her and her teammates.”

Speaking about the selection, British Equestrian Performance Director and Equestrian Team Leader for Tokyo, Richard Waygood, said; “This is an exciting squad with three riders and incredibly talented horses in peak form ahead of the Games despite the challenges of competing with a COVID restricted calendar. There’s a great mix of experience and youth and will be a great sense of camaraderie in the camp as we strive to push for
podium performances.”


jumping squad

The Jumping Squad Facts

● Holly Smith is the first woman to make an Olympic Showjumping team since 1976 when Debbie Johnsey just missed out on an individual medal in Montreal.

● Holly runs a hugely successful producing and dealing business with her husband Graham. Horses they have discovered for relatively low prices include Dougie Douglas who gave Holly her first big break; and Quarrycrest Echo who won eventing team gold at the World Equestrian Games in Tryon with Piggy French.

● Holly has juggled professional show jumping and running a successful business with being a mum to Rosie. She also hunts in her spare time. Rosie is also turning out to be a chip off the old block and proving a fearless and talented rider.

● In London 2012 Ben Maher and Scott Brash won Team GB’s first show jumping gold medal for 60 years.

● Reserve rider Harry Charles is the son of Peter Charles who also helped win the team gold in 2012 alongside Scott, Ben and Nick Skelton.

● This will be Hollie and Harry Charles’ first Olympic appearance.

● In 2015, Scott became the first and only rider in history to win the Rolex Grand Slam of show jumping- winning all three of the sport’s most prestigious events in a year.

● Scott retained the title of World No 1 in the Longines FEI world rankings for a whole 12 months- that is quite a feat.

● Scott’s horse philosophy: “I believe you can only achieve exceptional things if you build a partnership with a horse and that takes time and trust” and “Horses as family, always.”

● This will be Ben Maher’s fourth appearance at an Olympic Games. He first
represented Britain in Beijing (2008) followed by London (2012) and then Rio (2016).

● Ben thinks his horse Explosion W is the greatest he has ever sat on. At one stage their future together was in jeopardy as the horse was up for sale. Luckily for Ben, he was bought by owners and Ben retained the ride.

● Explosion W was awarded the accolade of leading show jumping horse in the world in 2019. He is by Chacco Blue who has been one of the best represented horses amongst his progeny at most Championships since 2015. The stallion himself topped the prestigious WBFSH show jumping sire rankings for two years in 2018 and 2019.

● Di Lampard is Team GB’s first female chef d’equipe.


Photo rights – Ben Maher official, British Show jumping .

Written by Horse Scout Journalist Ellie Kelly.


Talk of Tokyo Part 2: All you need to know about the British Dressage Team

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With the Tokyo Olympics just around the corner, Horse Scout journalist Ellie Kelly takes a look at the recently selected British Dressage team that will be going for gold this summer.


The Team for Tokyo:


Charlotte Dujardin (35) based in Newent, Gloucestershire with Renai Hart, Carl Hester and her own Gio (chestnut, gelding, 10yrs, Apache x Tango.)

Breeders: H J de Jong, A Valk NED, Groom: Alan Davies.


Charlotte (Lottie) Fry (25) based in Den Hout, the Netherlands (from Scarborough, North Yorkshire) with Van Olst Horses and her own Everdale (black stallion, 17.2hh, 12yrs, Lord Leatherdale x Negro.)

Breeder: P Kluytmans NED, Groom: Steven Caley.


Carl Hester (53) based in Newent, Gloucestershire (from Sark, The Channel Islands) with Sandra Biddlecombe, Charlotte Dujardin, Lady Anne Evans and his own En Vogue (darkbay, gelding, 12yrs, 17hh, Jazz x Contango.)

Breeder: A Van der Goor NED, Groom: Lucy Scudamore.

Travelling reserve


Gareth Hughes (50) based in Southam, Warwickshire with Judy Firmston-Williams and his own Sintano Van Hof Olympia (bay, gelding, 16.3hh, 11yrs, Sandro Hit x Silvano.)

Breeder: Hof Olympia NED, Groom: Steph Sharples.


talk of tokyo

Dressage Facts

● Tokyo will be Carl Hester’s sixth Olympics.

● Both Charlotte’s have been trained by Carl. Lottie Fry started training with Carl at the age of 14.

● Carl was born on the tiny Channel island of Sark, where no cars existed at the time. Transport was by horse or donkey. He started his equestrian career by learning to ride on a donkey and then helping with the local horse-drawn taxi business in his childhood.

● Carl’s Tokyo Olympic ride En Vogue is part owned by Charlotte Dujardin and she produced and competed it until 18 months ago.

● En Vogue lives out in the field most of the time which helps his slightly hot
temperament.

● Lottie Fry attributes her talent and her inspiration to her mother. She is the daughter of the late Laura Fry who competed on the British Team winning silver at the Europeans Championships and was part of the team at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992 but sadly passed away in 2012.

● Lottie moved to Holland in 2014 when she was just 16 years old and has been based there ever since. She was introduced to Anne van Olst by Carl and it is with the Van Olst horses that Lottie has had great success. Anne owns her Olympic horse, Everdale and trains the pair most days.

● Lottie who is ranked 35th in the world, made her senior debut for the British team less than two years ago.



● Charlotte Dujardin is the most successful British rider in dressage history. She has won every major title possible including three gold and one silver Olympic medals, as well as two golds won at the World Equestrian Games. She holds all three world records in the sport and is the only rider to date, to hold the complete set of individual titles at the same time.

● If Charlotte won another individual gold at Tokyo, she would be just the second rider ever to win three successive medals. The first was Holland’s Anky van Grunsven.

● Charlotte, Carl and Lottie finished 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the FEI Dressage World Cup at the London International Horse Show at Olympia in 2019.

● Carl and Charlotte’s horses work in the school just four days a week. They all hack and get turned out in paddocks most days. Carl and Charlotte are great believers that horses should be allowed to be horses and relax so that schooling and competing isn’t considered as stressful and unpleasant.

● Gareth Hughes grew up in Australia where he competed in Showing and Western riding as well as Dressage.

● Gareth’s nickname is Mr Detail.


Photo credits – Carl Hester, Charlotte Dujardin

Written by Horse Scout journalist Ellie Kelly.

eventing team

Talk of Tokyo Part 1: All you need to know about the British eventing team

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The news of who has made the cut for the three equestrian teams heading to Tokyo Olympics was announced last week, so we thought we would bring you the story behind the story, with some fun facts about those riders selected to compete. First up, we will look at the British eventing team.


The eventing team:


Laura Collett (31) based in Salperton, Gloucestershire, with Karen Bartlett, Keith Scott and her own London 52 (bay, gelding, 12yrs, 16.3hh, Landos x Quinar.)

Breeder: Ocke Riewerts GER, Groom: Matilda Sayburn-Hughes.

Tom McEwen (30) based in Stroud, Gloucestershire, with Fred and Penny Barker, Jane Inns and Ali McEwen’s Toledo de Kerser (bay, gelding, 14yrs, 16.1hh, Diamant de Semilly x Papillon Rouge.)

Breeder: Kerstin Drevet FRA, Groom: Francesca Gorni.

Oliver Townend (38) based in Ellesmere, Shropshire, with Karyn Shuter, Angela Hislop and Val Ryan’s Ballaghmor Class (grey, gelding, 14yo, 16.2hh, s. Courage II.)

Breeder: Noel Hicky IRL, Groom: Jess McKie

Travelling reserve-
Piggy March (40) based in Maidwell, Northamptonshire, with John and Chloe Perry and Alison Swinburn’s Brookfield Innocent (bay, gelding, 12yrs, 16.3hh, Innocent x Kings Servant.

Breeder: John Mulvey IRL, Groom: Amy Phillip


eventing team

Eventing


● The last time the British eventing team won a Olympic team gold medal was 1972. Richard Meade (father of Olympic longlisted rider Harry Meade) also won individual gold that year.

● Unlike previous Olympics were there were four riders with one drop score, now only three riders will compete and all scores will count. The fourth rider is a travelling reserve. The last time there were only three riders competing at an Olympics was Mexico City 1968, when Team GB also won team gold. Britain won two of their three team gold medals under the three rider format. Perhaps this is a sign for things to come…

● The 49 year Olympic eventing team’s gold medal absence may be surprising given the Brits are reigning world champions, an accolade won in at the World Equestrian Games, Tryon in 2018, where British rider Ros Canter also picked up the individual title.

● None of the three selected riders or reserve for Tokyo 2021, have ever been on an Olympic team before.

● The four selected horses have all finished either first or second in at least one 5*. Three of the four riders have won at least one 5*.

● Two of the four selected horses are Irish bred. Ballaghmor Class is by Courage II, whilst reserve horse Brookfield Inocent is by Inocent out of a mare by Kings Servant.

● Laura Collett suffered a death defying fall in 2013 and was in an induced coma for six days. She was left partially sighted when a fragment of bone got into her bloodstream and damaged the retina. She has learnt to ride with this disability and it is the reason she competes with special glasses.

● Laura started in the world of showing when she won the Supreme Pony title at the Horse of the Year Show. She then made her first British event team at the age of 15 riding a home-produced pony called Noble Springbok with whom she won individual bronze and team gold at the European Championships.

● Laura won nine medals during her youth career, seven of those were gold and since moving into the senior ranks she has been selected for three European Championships as an individual.

● Tom McEwen is based on the Princess Royal’s Gatcombe estate, a stone’s throw from the yard of the Queen’s granddaughter and fellow eventer, Zara Tindall.

● Tom is from a very horsey background- his father Bobby McEwen is a world renowned equine vet who was on the vet team at Badminton horse trials for 30 years; his mother Ali was a showjumper and his sister Ella competed on two British pony teams. His uncle John McEwen was Vice President of the FEI for eight years.

Oliver Townend has been a world number one rider on numerous occasions. He was the leading rider on British Eventing points in six of the nine years between 2011-2020.

Oliver has won six times at five-star level, including three back to back victories at the US 5* Land Rover Kentucky Three Day Event.

Oliver is the son of a milkman from Huddersfield. Despite having no financial leg-up bought the impressive eventing set-up Gadlas Farm, at the age of 25 years old from money made by buying and selling horses.

● Reserve rider, Piggy March (nee French) was the last rider to win Badminton which took place in 2019. She finished 2nd to Laura Collett at Pau in 2020 with Brookfield Inocent- the horse’s 5* debut.

● Piggy earned selection for the 2012 Olympic Games but was forced to withdraw fairly late in the day, due to an injury to her horse.


Written by Horse Scout journalist Ellie Kelly.

Photo’s courtesy of British Equestrian and Oliver Townend Official.

MOLLIE SUMMERLAND

The lowdown on eventing history-maker Mollie Summerland

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Mollie Summerland is the name on everyone’s lips right now. That’s because the relatively unknown 23 year old has just become the youngest ever winner of a CCI5*, when she led from start to finish at Luhmuhlen last week. 

Speaking after her show jumping round Mollie said “I don’t ever want this day to end, It’s been the most amazing experience. The first people I want to thank are the organisers. With all the things going on in the world right now, it’s amazing what you have achieved. It’s hard to sum up how I feel right now, but this horse has changed my life.”


She came to the event without a coach and navigated huge logistical hurdles to get there because of a German ban on travelers from the U.K. due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“I would rather have ridden dressage or cross-country again,” she said. “I don’t feel so experienced in show jumping and was a little nervous, but my horse is simply amazing. I’ve never won a three-day-event, that’s something I used to dream about.” It was only Mollie’s second 5 star, having finished 10th at Pau in 2020.


Mike Etherington-Smith’s cross-country proved to be very influential. Fifteen of 24 starters completed. (The original entry list of more than 70 was decimated by a mass withdrawal of British riders due to the German travel restrictions.) Four riders finished clear within the time allowed. Mollie was one of them, hanging onto her dressage lead.


Mollie Summerland

Horse Scout caught up with Mollie to find out more: 


Now you’ve had time to let it all sink in, how would you sum up that winning feeling?

I find it so difficult to put it into words. I am sitting here trying to write a post about it all and I don’t know what to say. It was truly special though.

What were your expectations?

I wanted to get another 5 * under my belt. There was part of me that wanted another top 10 finish but really I wanted a bit more mileage. So to win it was totally unexpected.

How did you feel before going into the show-jumping, knowing you didn’t have a fence in hand?

I was pretty nervous. It has always been the weaker phase for both of us and don’t have much confidence. I have started training with Jay Halim. Consistency with trainers really helps and I have never got into a proper system with one trainer before I started using Jay. 

I videoed the show jumping and sent it to Jay on Sunday morning. He believes that the goal for the show jumping warm up should be to send the horse in with confidence, he wants the rider to also believe in themselves before they go in. Fine tuning things is what it’s all about and when you make those small changes it can be the difference between having a rail and jumping a clear round. 

Who else do you train with?

I use Robin Dumas for the cross-country at Rosamund Green Farm. For Dressage I use Carl Hester and Olivia Oakley. It’s my favourite phase and I was actually a bit disappointed he missed one of the flying changes. It was 34 degrees that day so it was really intense to work a horse in that phase. Some horses really felt the heat and actually we hadn’t considered that element. 

What did you think of the cross-country phase, which seemed to cause alot of problems?

It was a proper 5 star track. My trainer Robin said when you’re going around a 5 star you can’t expect it to be pretty all the way around. You just have to get round! He was fantastic and he didn’t take any mistakes that I made personally. 

How did you find Charly?

I found him in Belgium as a five year old. I looked at 200 horses and he was the last I saw. I was meant to be looking at another one and just saw him over the stable door and liked the look. He hadn’t even jumped under the saddle so I tried him on the flat and they sent me a video of him loose jumping. He had his first jump with me in the UK.

You met the breeder at Luhmuhlen- what did he say?

I always try to stay in contact with the people I buy horses off. We had to use google translate to communicate. He was so proud. He was even in a newspaper in Germany and he said that it was the greatest achievement of his life having bred Charly.

I have a three year old stallion out of Charley’s full sister. He is at Caunton Stud where he will stay until early next year. 

You’ve had to move yards several times in the last year, that must be pretty unsettling?

I had to move all my horses several times. It’s really difficult when you don’t own your stables. I am now at Julia Norman’s which is great. I was even living in my horsebox at stages.

How do you make it all work?

It’s not easy. I have some lovely owners but my parents don’t have the finances to consistently help me. As the money comes in it goes straight back out. 

It was pretty tough and expensive to get out to Luhmuhlen so it was lucky to have some prize money to come home with. I won £33,000 so that is a life-changing amount for me. 

How did you negotiate the logistical problems presented when Germany refused the entry of people from the UK?

We went to Tim Lips for 10 days to do our quarantine in the Netherlands. Together with Tim and Jonelle Price, who were also competing. So it was a really fun atmosphere.  

How did you start riding? 

I went to a riding school. My parents aren’t horsey at all, although Mum is supportive and can muck out but she wouldn’t feel confident enough to tack him up or anything. 

What is the plan from here?

Charley will have a holiday and then we will make some plans. I will speak to Dickie Waygood (Team GB Performance Manager) and see if we can work out an autumn goal.


The Horse Scout team would like to wish Mollie every success for the future.

Interview with Mollie Summerland conducted by Horse Scout journalist – Ellie Kelly.

helen west

Helen West appointed as British Eventing’s new CEO

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British Eventing is delighted to announce that Helen West will take over at the helm of the sport’s governing body from 2nd August. There seems no better person suited to the job as CEO – Helen brings forward a wealth of experience in the sport of eventing, as a competitor, event organiser, course builder and board member.


As a competitor her accolades are many; a former Young Rider gold medallist, she has evented to CCI4* level, representing Great Britain on multiple occasions and competing at the highest levels in all three Olympic disciplines. She still actively competes when time allows.


Helen has managed all equestrian events at Bicton Arena for Clinton Devon
Estates
, for the last eight years and was previous Event Riders’ Association
Organiser of the Year. She is responsible for the hugely popular Bicton Horse Trials, which runs three times each season from BE80 to CCI3*. Bicton also hosts the Grassroots BE100 three-day event. In 2021 Helen has been instrumental in developing the inaugural BE90 three-day event as well as organising a replacement fixture for Bramham CCI4* to take place in June this year. Helen is also an FEI Level 3 cross country course designer and a member of the British Eventing Cross Country Advisory Group. Her focus has been to raise event standards and she is a firm believer in the importance of educational courses for horse and rider.


Helen West


It is fair to say that BE has, as a governing body, received it’s fair share of
upheaval and unrest as far as leadership and executive decisions are concerned – with three CEO’s appointed in as many years and a loss of confidence from many members. It is hoped that Helen, who has a huge amount of respect from riders, owners and other BE members, will be a guiding light and bring the member’s body out of the doldrums.



Commenting on her appointment, Helen said: “I am thrilled to have been
appointed as British Eventing’s Chief Executive; the sport has been a large part of my life for many years. As a membership organisation, collaboration with key stakeholders is essential to developing growth within the sport and providing a sustainable business model for the future. This requires both knowledge and vision, which I will bring to the organisation. My vision is for the sport to unite together and thrive.”

Fiona O’Hara, Chair of the Board said, “The Board and I are very much looking forward to working with Helen. Her deep understanding of all facets of the sport and her vision for its future make her an outstanding choice for Chief Executive. We would also like to pay tribute to Jude Matthews who has worked incredibly hard as the outgoing Chief Executive to guide the sport through the Covid pandemic. We wish Jude every success in the next chapter of her career.”



The recruitment process for Chief Executive was led by the BE Board, with
candidates sourced through an advertising campaign and a head-hunter.
Candidates were shortlisted to be interviewed by three panels comprising two Non-Executive Directors and one Stakeholder Association Chair from the BEOA, EHOA and ERA of GB, followed finally by an interview with Chair Fiona O’Hara.


A Horse Scout blog by journalist – Ellie Kelly.

Photo credits to – Clinton Devon Estates and British Eventing

Equine Herpes

International horse sport cancelled in Europe after one of the worst outbreaks of Equine Herpes in living memory.

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The FEI announced last night (1 March) that all international events in 10 countries in mainland Europe would be cancelled with immediate effect, until at least 28 March. This was due to an outbreak of the most serious strain of EHV-1 (Equine Herpes), the neurological form which attacks the central nervous system of the horse and is highly contagious. It is known so far that four horses have been euthanised over the weekend and 84 horses in Valencia alone had tested positive. 

A spokesperson from the FEI refers to it as “the rapid evolution of a very aggressive strain of the neurological form of Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1).” It  has been traced back to Valencia in Spain and has already resulted in related outbreaks in at least three other countries in Europe.


This rule applies to all FEI sports, not just showjumping. However, the FEI have also decreed that in order to prevent huge numbers of horses simultaneously departing the Jumping Tours on the Iberian Peninsula, in Italy and Belgium that have been ongoing for a number of weeks, these specific Tours will be allowed to continue as individual “bubbles” on the condition that absolutely no new horses are allowed to enter the venues and no positive cases of Equine Herpes (EHV-1) are confirmed.

The Jumping Tour venues in Spain- Vejer de la Frontera, Portugal- Vilamoura and Italy- San Giovanni in Marignano and Gorla Minore (ITA) will have stringent biosecurity protocols in place and additional FEI Veterinary Delegates onsite. According to the FEI, horses will only be permitted to leave these venues when they are in possession of an official health certificate from the local Veterinary Authorities. Any horses leaving these venues without this documentation will be blocked on the FEI Database. It is also illegal to transport a horse without an official health certificate.

The popular Spanish venue of Oliva Nova had already advised the FEI that it will be cancelling the rest of its scheduled competitions in the Mediterranean Equestrian Tour III. Opglabbeek in Belgium has also informed the FEI that it has cancelled its events in March.

A number of European countries have already cancelled all their events to reduce transmission of the virus as far as possible. The UK- not part of the list, has not returned to competition due to Covid enforced lockdown conditions. 


The ten countries in question are France, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Italy, Austria, Poland, Netherlands, Germany and Slovakia. The decision has been made in accordance with FEI General Regulations Article 112.3, which state: “The Secretary General shall have the authority to remove any Competition and/or Event from the Calendar if justified circumstances relating to a Competition or the Event are established.”


Speaking on their decision, FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez said:

“This was not an easy decision to block events in mainland Europe, particularly after the major disruption to the FEI Calendar caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, but this EHV-1 outbreak is probably the most serious we have had in Europe for many decades and our decision is based on clearly identified epidemiological risk factors.

This strain of EHV-1 is particularly aggressive and has already caused equine fatalities and a very large number of severe clinical cases. We need to keep our horses safe.

We are also aware that a large number of horses left the venue in Valencia without an official health certificate, meaning they had an unknown health status. Some horses were already sick, and the risk of transmission from these horses is a major concern.

Cancelling these competitions in mainland Europe, with the exception of the ongoing Jumping Tours in the Iberian Peninsula and Italy, limits the number of horses travelling internationally and therefore reduces the likelihood of this very serious virus being transmitted on an increasingly wider scale. We also strongly recommend that the affected member Federations should also cancel their national events.

We are very conscious of the fact that this is a very stressful and distressing time, and that this is potentially hugely disruptive for those athletes aiming for their Minimum Eligibility Requirements (MERs) or confirmation results for Tokyo, but we are looking at ways to alleviate that in order to assist athlete/horse combinations in getting their MERs or confirmation results once the events in mainland Europe are allowed to resume.”


The FEI is conscious that some athletes have already arrived on competition venues or are en route, and is directly contacting all impacted athletes entered in Events between now and 28 March 2021.


A widespread testing programme is being carried out. Symptoms of Equine Herpes include: 

  • High temperature
  • Nasal discharge
  • A dry cough
  • Loss of appetite
  • Reduced performance 
  • Lethargy/depression
  • Unable to pass urine or droppings
  • Poor limb coordination- in severe cases unable to stand

It can be spread via direct horse to horse contact but also contaminated equipment, handler clothing or boots.


Written by Horse Scout reporter, Ellie Kelly.


Park Lane Stables

Park Lane Stables RDA, UK, Urgent Fundraising Appeal

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Park Lane Stables have been a key part of their community in Teddington, London, for years. Sadly, they are now at risk of losing their stables and are crowdfunding to purchase the property they call home to enable them to continue providing an invaluable service to their community. Park Lane is a small charity RDA (Riding for the Disabled Association) stables that provides therapy to local children and adults both with and without disabilities and mental health challenges. Their closure will therefore come at a great loss to those who rely on their services.


The lease on their stables is up at the end of May, however, the landlord is not willing to renew the lease and wants to sell the property. They have been forced to urgently appeal for help to raise the £1 million needed to secure the future of the centre, and that of the staff, clients, and horses that have come to depend on the property.  

Sadly, buying the current property seems to be the only option in order to keep this RDA stable running, as other stables in London are so few and far between, and moving to a rural area would take them away from the community they serve.


Horse riding at Park Lane stables RDA

“(Buying the stables) will secure our future in the long-term and with the money we save from the cost of the lease, we will be able to provide more lessons at a subsidised rate and invest in vital therapy equipment.

The stables have a cottage which will become assisted living for those with additional needs so they will be in the heart of the community and living with the horses.”

Natalie O’Rourke, Manager at Park Lane Stables.


Before the Coronavirus pandemic, the charity provided in excess of 3000 sessions of therapeutic riding for adults and children with disabilities every year. Research has shown that these sessions provide huge benefits to their participants, who often show improvements in their ability to communicate, a marked physical improvement as well as an increased ability to build relationships.

“We call ourselves the community stables because we’re here for everybody. The same way that anybody can use the library or the swimming pool, we are here for everybody that wants to get involved.”


RDA stables

With such vital work being carried out annually to the local community, the team at Park Lane are asking for any possible donations to be made to help save the stables. They have currently raised over £140,000 but have stated that this is an ‘all or nothing campaign’. If the total amount needed has not been raised, there will sadly be no other option than for the stables to close their doors. In the unfortunate circumstance that their target is not reached in time, they will be returning all pledges that have kindly been donated.


To find out more or to make a donation please visit – https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/save-our-stables


Images provided by Park Lane Stables.

spy soast farm

Spy Coast Farm stallion awarded US-Based Jumper Sire of the Year

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It has been a fantastic start to the year for one of the USA’s leading sport horse breeders Spy Coast Farm, as their impressive stallion Diktator van de Boslandhoeve has been awarded the 2020 South Pacific Award as the Leading US-Based Jumper Sire of the Year.


Spy Coast Farm is a highly regarded breeding operation in the US specialising in the production and development of top-quality performance horses, whilst also making it’s mark on the European market in an exciting partnership with Belgian based breeding enterprise, Mares of Macha.

Find out more about this partnership here.

This latest accolade is testament to the successful breeding operation at Spy Coast Farm and demonstrates Diktator van de Boslandhoeve’s ability to produce outstanding stock, making him a fantastic stallion choice for American breeders. Diktator is a truly modern sports horse sire, his bloodlines boast some of the most successful stallions in Europe including Nimmerdor, Argentinus, Capitol and Lord. His damline is equally as strong with multiple proven breeding mares including his dam Rebecca van de Boslandhoeve who, alongside Diktator, has produced several top competition horses as well as two other approved stallions.


Spy Coast farm stallion Diktator van de Boslandhoeve

This impressive stallion enjoyed an illustrious jumping career with great success as a young horse in Belgium, and went on to compete in international 1m60 classes and Nations Cups with Shane Sweetnam of Ireland, before joining the winning team in Ocala, America. He combines unlimited scope and ability over fences with impressive paces, strong, correct conformation, and a kind temperament which he is now passing on to his offspring.


Now retired to stud, Diktator is demonstrating his versatility for sport by producing multiple top jumpers competing up to Grand Prix level, as well as successful hunters and eventers.

For more information on this award-winning sire visit www.spycoastfarm.com


The Horse Scout team would like to congratulate all those involved for this fantastic achievement.


Image rights – Spy Coast Farm


Horse transported in lorry

WHAT BREXIT MEANS FOR TRAVELLING HORSES

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On January 1st 2021, Britain is leaving the European Union, known now as BREXIT. Of course, we have been trying to leave the EU for several years, with much debate and anguish but in less than a month, the ‘transition period’ is finally over. So that means if you ride, compete, work, travel or trade in Europe, a number of changes are coming – scarily soon. A number of arrangements are dependent on there being a free trade agreement in place when we leave. If no deal is reached then exactly what third country status Britain will be, will be announced on 31 December.


Moving horses, either temporarily or permanently and whether they are registered or unregistered animals, is expected to become much more detailed and inevitably more expensive, with no trade agreement in place. It’s important to stress that any information is subject to change, but key areas of change are:

Documentation – horses will now require an Export Health Certificate (EHC), signed by an Official Vet (OV), and the Import of Products, Animals, Food and Feed Systems (IPAFFS) service must be notified of their movements.

Disease testing – registered equines will require a blood test for equine infectious anaemia within 90 days of travel for temporary exports (such as attending a competition). Uncastrated males will also require equine viral arteritis testing up to 21 days before travel unless they meet vaccination requirements. The rules and timings are different for unregistered equines.

Residency/isolation – registered horses must be resident in the UK or a country with equivalent health status for 40 days before departure.

Transporters and vehicles – UK authorisations and certificates will no longer be recognised, and new transport documentation will need to be arranged by one of the 27 EU member states.

Entry points – all horses must pass through a Border Control Post (BCP) in the EU with the correct documentation. Currently, there are six servicing the short channel crossings to France, which are authorised to accept registered horses.


WHAT BREXIT MEANS FOR TRAVELLING HORSES

The British Equestrian Federation (BEF) has prepared advice for those looking to compete horses with purple FEI recognition cards for sporting or competition purposes. For horses in general, everyone is awaiting news on the approval of the UK’s equine stud books, which will hopefully happen – this would mean that horses with a recognised passport would follow a similar process to FEI-registered horses. If approval is not given, and it’s not expected to happen before 1 January, these horses will require a government-issued ID document in addition to their passport, and other export documentation.

There’s a dedicated Brexit page on the British Equestrian website, which outlines the requirements and process you need to follow. Key points of which you should be aware

  • The BEF advises anyone looking to export a horse to Europe to avoid the first few weeks of January next year while the process beds in.
  • Even seasoned competitors/transporters would benefit from engaging with an approved shipper, to help with the travel process for their first few visits to the continent post-Brexit.
  • Allow plenty of time to complete the additional paperwork and checks in the days and weeks before you set off, and plan your journey carefully to allow extra time for clearing your BCP where all horses will undergo documentary, ID and physical checks which means they will be unloaded.
  • Find an Official Veterinarian in your area and make an introduction – having a good relationship with them is key because they will need to certify your documents the day before you depart.
  • This information is current but likely to change, so please check out the BEF website or with your sports member body before starting any travel arrangements.

Written by Horse Scout Journalist, Ellie Kelly.

Laura Collett, Pau 5* France.

Laura Collett beats off top-class field to win the only CCI5* of 2020.

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If anyone understands the sweet taste of triumph against adversity, then it’s Laura Collett. The 16-year journey to winning her first 5* Three Day Event at Pau 5* France last weekend, has involved more challenges than your average rider, including an accident that left her in a coma for six weeks and permanent loss of sight in one eye.

Les 5 Etoiles de Pau was the only CCI5*-L of the entire season so inevitably attracted a world-class field. This included the top six highest-ranked riders in the world. Riding her Boekelo 2019 winner London 52, Laura who is ranked 49th, led the entire competition, beating Piggy French (Brookfield Inocent) into second and Tim Price (Wesko) into third.


Speaking after her victory Laura said: “The dream became a reality and I still can’t believe this is all really happening. This morning I was saying to myself that if I had the choice, I wouldn’t have wanted to ride any other horse than London 52 in this kind of competition! He is a fantastic jumper. It was his first time competing at this level and I really wasn’t expecting this kind of result at the end of the competition. All of last year it was a case of ‘very nearly’. We were unlucky and they were split-second moments that caused our undoing but that’s all it takes in our sport.”


Laura Collett, winner or Pau 5* France
An emotional moment captured by Hannah Cole Photography.

It was one of those moments in 2013 when competing in the cross-country, her horse misread a corner fence at Tweseldown and suffered a rotational fall, landing directly on top of the petite 5ft 3 rider who was instantly knocked out. In the ambulance, the paramedics had to resuscitate her five times and on arrival at the hospital, the extent of her injuries was substantial, including fractured shoulder, broken ribs, a punctured lung, a lacerated liver, and injuries to her kidneys. She was placed in an induced coma for six days and it later transpired that a fragment of her shoulder bone had gravitated to her right eye through her bloodstream. It damaged the optic nerve, and she lost sight in that eye completely.

It took many months to adapt her eyesight even for day to day life and she recounts walking into things a lot. “When I started jumping, it seemed like the jumps would move.” She now wears goggles to protect her eyes from the elements when she is going cross-country.

Fortunately, Laura cannot remember the accident, so she had no confidence issues returning to eventing. “By the time I woke up, it was under control and I was lucky not to have any brain injuries. All I wanted to do was get back to competing.” It might not surprise you that just over six weeks later, she was back riding, which she admits may have been too soon. Although like our Horse Scout CEO Lucienne Elms, Laura spent several months living at the Injured Jockey Fund Rehabilitation Centre, Oaksey House. “They were amazing and there is no way I would have made such a comeback and so quickly, without their help.”


Beyond guts, grit and adversity, eventing is about a partnership, trust and understanding between human and horse. Laura Collett has that ability to make her horses achieve their full potential and she describes her Pau winner London 52 as an insecure horse who has put a lot of trust in her, which ultimately helps. He has only ever known Laura as a rider from an early age in his sporting career. Training from the beginning of a horse’s journey is what builds the partnership, she explains. Laura who rides at least 13 horses a day has trained most of her champions from scratch, having never had the means to buy ‘ready-made’ champions.


Laura Collett abooard London 52
The culmination of years of hard work. Image rights – Hannah Cole Photography.

Laura was smitten from the first time she sat on a pony at the age of two and started out in showing but always her dream was to be a professional event rider. From early childhood, she learned that in order to survive, ponies would have to be bought, produced and sold.

At the age of 12, she found a young pony called Noble Springbok from a one-lined advert and purchased him for the moderate sum of £5500. Her mother allowed her to keep this one, knowing he could be the one to achieve her dreams. Training the pony from scratch, in their first year of competitive eventing, they won everything and attracted the eyes of Youth team selectors. Laura Collett was placed on World Class Programme which meant she received lottery funding. A privilege that requires consistent exceptional results and one that she is still part of, 15 years later.

In 2005 the formidable partnership were selected for the British Pony Event Team at the European Championships, where she won team gold and individual bronze. ‘Spring’ was to launch her career, on both notoriety and monetary grounds. She signed away the right to admit how much he was sold for but a ‘life-changing’ amount passed hands. At just 16 years of age, she bought a new lorry to transport her horses, developed her facilities at home and purchased Rayef. This was another young horse who she trained on to win team and individual golds at both the Junior and Young Rider European Championships and finished 8th at her very first Badminton aged just 22.


There is little time for hobbies and even when the eventing season is over, Laura spends the winters producing young horses and doing plenty of showjumping. She also loves horse-racing and her event yard is partially funded by having racehorses in for some jump training. She was partially responsible for a first and second place at this year’s Cheltenham Festival. Simply the Betts and St Calvados, two National Hunt horses trained by Harry Whittington were sent to her to jump, leading up the Festival where they finished first and second respectively.

Despite eventing often attracting an elitist image, Laura Collett is proof that hard work and talent are the real key to success. She has never felt particularly challenged by not having a big money pot and thinks it makes her success all the more rewarding. “I’ve never known it any different. We would always buy unbroken ones, train them and sell them to be able to afford to do it and I still have to do that now. With all the other challenges it feels extra special because you know exactly what has gone into that win.”


Featured Image rights – Solène Bailly photos.